numbers in Kombai

Many languages use a “body part tally system” where body parts function as numerals (see body part tally systems with a description). One such language is Kombai that uses a system that ends at the number 23 but can be extended. In cases where larger numbers need to be used, Indonesian loan words are used, otherwise traditional numbers are being used.

In Mark 8:19, where both “five” and “five thousand” is used, “five” is translated with ambalo-khu or “thumb/five” and “five thousand” is translated with the Indonesian loan word lima-ribu.

Source: Lourens de Vries in A survey of the history of Bible translation in Indonesia, Beekman Lecture 2013.

See also large numbers in Angguruk Yali and numbers in Ngalum.